Accelerating innovation in the Latin American food industry

Bühler and partners open Tropical Food Innovation Lab in Brazil

São Paulo (Brazil), October 18, 2023 – Bühler, Cargill, Givaudan, the Institute of Food Technology (Ital), and the FoodTech HUB Latam today jointly announced the opening of the Tropical Food Innovation Lab, an innovation ecosystem for the development of sustainable food and beverages focused on promoting Brazilian biodiversity. Equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure, the innovation center is in a 1,300 square meter area within Ital’s premises in Campinas, São Paulo. The Tropical Innovation Lab is the result of a consortium formed by the three founding companies with the FoodTech HUB Latam and Ital, one of the leading public research institutes in Brazil.

The Tropical Food Innovation Lab will connect research institutes, universities, companies, investors, and start-ups providing them access to cutting-edge technology for rapid prototyping and direct connection to global food and beverage science.

The hub's infrastructure includes small-scale processing lines in the pilot plant, equipped with state-of-the-art wet and dry extrusion systems for plant-based proteins, application and analysis laboratories, and a cutting-edge experimental and demonstration kitchen. In the interaction areas, there is a coworking space for creative workshops and pitching. With that, companies, food engineers, nutritionists, chefs, mixologists, and other professionals can come together and push innovation. In a second phase, a beverage processing unit will add complementary resources to Ital's existing facilities.

With more than 20% of the planet's plant biodiversity, spread across six major biomes, and a food industry that historically accounts for 10% of GDP, Brazil is among the largest global producers and exporters of grains and protein. “This innovation ecosystem, not by chance located in Campinas, a reference city for technology in Brazil, brings together the intellectual, technological, scientific, and creative power to establish the best connections and solutions for the food chain. It also contributes to Brazil's prominence, which is already a global exponent," emphasizes Paulo Silveira, the visionary and manager behind Tropical, as well as the founder and CEO of FoodTech HUB Latam.

"The Tropical Food Innovation Lab is the materialization of Ital's vision that the future is built by combining competencies and infrastructure and applying knowledge to generate innovation and promote entrepreneurship in the field of food science and technology," says Eloísa Garcia, Ital's General Director.

"We are honored to be part of this innovation ecosystem that meets the growing demand for the development of new products for the food and beverage industry. We bring our expertise in processes, our cutting-edge technology, and our innovation DNA, always striving for efficient and sustainable solutions that bring value and results to our customers, partners, and society," says Damien Chapelier, Head of Bühler South America.

Carlos Prax, LATAM Technology and Innovation Leader at Cargill, states that the Tropical Food Innovation Lab is totally connected to Cargill's purpose of nourishing the world. "Innovation is one of the keys to achieving this, especially with the growing population and challenges ranging from climate change to new consumption profiles. We are very honored to lead this project alongside such relevant partners for food production not only in Latin America but also in the world," he emphasizes.

Eduard Fontcuberta, Regional Head of Innovation at Givaudan, says: "Givaudan has been intensifying its investments in innovation in a collaborative way, which is why we are thrilled to announce the opening of the Tropical Food Innovation Lab. Alongside our partners, we are committed to driving the development of the food industry and promoting solutions for global food safety and sustainability challenges. We will strengthen food innovation in Latin America, with proposals that will delight people's palates while also delivering nutritious and delicious food experiences."

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